For some people, it may feel like they’ve always watched on-demand TV on Netflix, but the service is relatively new. Netflix began as a movie on demand service, which would mail DVDs to your house on a subscription service basis. However, the business changed the television game when it began to offer new shows streaming to television viewers. It didn’t hurt that their first original series “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey was a huge hit. Since 2013, Netflix has offered dozens of quality shows for viewers to watch. With all of that choice out there, how do you know which shows to watch? Here’s your guide to the best original shows on Netflix.
10. The Crown
If you love to hear about the royals, you need to see this show. The Crown covers the reign of the current monarch of England, Elizabeth II. The period costumes and set design are amazing and opulent. The showrunners are telling the amazing story of the longest-serving monarch in British history. The series, as with Downton Abbey before it, has a large, loyal following.
9. One Day at a Time
If you are looking for a show that has a non-stereotyped Latino family, check out “One Day at a Time.” The original show was created by Norman Lear. It was based on the life of a single mother and her two teenage daughters. The original show in the 70s was a huge hit. This remake is brash and funny. It has plenty of room for cultural values and the generational war that is included within families.
8. The Haunting of Hill House
Horror fans have long been in love with Shirley Jackson’s horror novel, “The Haunting of Hill House.” Now Netflix has brought it to life, and it is as good as the novel. Instead of trying to cover everything the book has covered, the director has found character traits and settings to exploit. In the series, a family has moved into the house and has begun renovations while dealing with their personal traumas. If you like cerebral terror rather than bloody slasher films, this series is for you.
Harken back to the 80s with this women’s wrestling promotion staring Academy-Award winner, Alison Brie. This is a period comedy with laugh out loud scenes. The comedy gets everything about the 80s right: the art of self-promotion, theatrics of wrestling, and the fans of wrestling. If you don’t really enjoy wrestling, you will love this show despite it.
6. Master of None
A lot of people have not given this show a chance. Sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against the co-creator of the show, Aziz Ansari. If you can put aside what Ansari did (allegedly) this is a great show. The show is similar to Seinfeld. Master of None is more highbrow, as many of the characters have a lot of money to throw around. Many of the stories in the series revolve around Millennial issues. Issues like online dating, relating to other people in an age of isolation, and real love for friends and relationships. But it is the writing that sets this show apart from the rest, as it is top notch.
5. Grace and Frankie
It is easy to overlook this comedy if you are under 60. However, much like “The Golden Girls” of the late 1980s, “Grace and Frankie” is a comedic gem. The show is loaded with talent. Two female friends in their 70s (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) decide to live together. Their two husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) declare their love for each other and their intention to get married. This show is also an intergenerational comedy. Both couples have children who need to come to grips with parental sexuality and notions of love. The show is well run and funny with good messages about tolerance and being true to yourself. Hard to argue with that.
4. Dear White People
This show is one of the most original on the streaming service. “Dear White People” is based on the breakout short film that was all of the talk at Sundance. The film explicitly explores race within the context of a blackface party thrown by white students. The perspectives of white and black students are examined under a political and social/cultural lens. The show is hilariously funny, but with serious undertones, given the restlessness of the world today.
3. American Vandal
At first blush, this seems like a comedy meant only for teenagers, but it is great satirical fun. In the show, teenagers who are documentary filmmakers are conducting an investigation. They are investigating to see if a classmate has been spray-painting penises on teachers’ cars. The show discusses high school life and the juvenile justice system with humor, parody, and drama, which makes it must-watch.
This is one of the best shows in all of television, much less streaming. If you love crime dramas, serial killers or psychopaths, “Mindhunter” is for you. There is great casting with Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, and Anna Torv. The FBI has been developing a division of the Bureau that hunts serial killers who seemingly have no motive. This division became the profiler department. The serial killers have been an interesting variety of character actors. The actors play on your sense of crime-solving, psychological study and introspection. While it may be tough to binge watch, depending on how repulsive it is, “Mindhunter” is a great series.
Simply put, this is a character study in morality. It has been compared to “Breaking Bad” regarding its exploration of morality—good and evil. Jason Bateman is a financial advisor who moves his family to Southern Missouri. He has to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel. The cartel didn’t give him a choice, and the repercussions of his decision affect him and his family. The other characters in the series, Laura Linney as Bateman’s wife, for example, are as good as the main character.
Most of us think of animated shows as kid stuff. However, there is an original series on Netflix that may make you rethink the notion of animation as kids-only. “BoJack Horseman” is an animated show about a talking horse that is very entertaining. He is also an exploration of all of the layers of depression. The show balances humor with visuals, funny dialogue, complex adult characters with real needs and desires, and a thorough psychological study. Depression affects so many people and is usually portrayed in such a serious fashion. It is great to see the disease portrayed in all of its complexity and sadness.
The next time you queue up Netflix, why not take an opportunity to try one of these amazing shows? Although Netflix offers a wide variety of streaming shows, these are the best shows in our humble opinion. We bet you will find something here you can binge watch for an entire weekend.
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